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DCHA Director Brenda Donald Refuses To Say Who Approved Her $41,250 Bonus


Apr 12, 2023

D.C. Housing Authority Director and public servant Brenda Donald is refusing to show who authorised her $41,250 bonus price in spite of severa requests from At-Large Councilmember Robert White, who chairs the D.C. Council`s Committee on Housing.

Donald obtained the most bonus allowed beneathneath her contract—15 percentage of her $275,000 annual salary—on Jan. 6, in step with inner DCHA records. White has been looking to study who authorised the bonus and what overall performance metrics they used considering the fact that March 9, quickly after City Paper first said the giant reward.

Donald has to date rebuffed Whites questions, maximum these days all through a stressful price range oversight listening to Monday. Donald gave numerous motives for maintaining White and the general public withinside the darkish approximately her publicly funded bonus, that is really well worth 20 percentage extra than the every year income of a minimal salary employee in D.C. First and foremost, Donald argues, her repayment is none of the general publics business.

“Our function is that that statistics is privileged and confidential,” Donald stated Monday. “And it`s among my board of administrators and myself.”

Plus, Donald claims, bonus bills are not unusualplace withinside the public housing industry. And because it mainly relates to inquiries through White`s Committee on Housing, well, the information are none of his concern, in step with Donald, due to the fact her repayment isn’t always paid for with neighborhood budget that the committee is in rate of allocating.

“This is a finances oversight listening to for the budget that the D.C. Housing Authority is supplied via way of means of the District of Columbia government,” Donald stated.

White did now no longer take kindly to that form of obfuscation, however he does now no longer seem geared up to flex the committees subpoena powers, in line with his spokesperson Devon Haynes. There has additionally been a few query approximately whether or not Donalds bonus violates District law, however the perfect solution is unclear. Haynes says through electronic mail that the Councils felony consultant has stated they could want solutions to Whites questions that allows you to make one of these determination.

“This is a public listening to,” White stated to Donald throughout Mondays listening to. “This is the committee that does oversight. No different committee does oversight, neighborhood of federal. And the query Im asking isn’t a employees query. I`m asking who accredited the bonus, director.”

Donald repeated the solution that her leader running officer gave to City Paper in advance this month—that an advert hoc committee of DCHA`s board of commissioners set the requirements for bonuses, evaluated her overall performance, and issued the reward. That became as a great deal element as Donald became inclined to give.

Former DCHA Commissioner Ann Hoffman tells City Paper she remembers former board Chair Dionne Bussey-Reeder forming an advert hoc committee closer to the stop of remaining year, across the time Mayor Muriel Bowser became offering law that in the long run ousted maximum sitting board participants and taken in a brand new panel. But Hoffman declined to sign up for the advert hoc committee and says the entire board by no means accredited a overall performance plan or the bonus charge for Donald, as her settlement requires. Neither Donald nor Bussey-Reeder responded to a messages looking for clarification.

Former DCHA Commissioner Kenneth Council additionally says the entire board by no means accredited a overall performance plan or the charge.

“The board by no means mentioned it, we by no means pointed out it, and it by no means got here to me,” Council says.

The organization has now no longer published any information displaying an advert hoc committee met, or maybe exists. It has up to now refused to offer those, and different information associated with Donalds bonus: DCHA ignored a felony closing date of April eleven to reply to City Papers Freedom of Information Act request for the advert hoc committees mins and different files associated with its discussions, which include Donalds annual overall performance plan and goals.

Given Donald`s responses to White this week, it does now no longer seem she is inclined to expose the ones details:

“Is the bonus usually authorised through the whole board?” White requested in the course of the hearing. (Donald`s agreement seems to require approval from the whole board, in line with a replica of the report acquired through City Paper.)

“I don`t understand what the preceding exercise was,” Donald responded. “I understand the advert hoc committee is the only the board assigned to manipulate that responsibility.”

“How many human beings are at the advert hoc committee?” White requested.

“Sir, you`re asking me to hold happening this avenue to talk about some thing that absolutely isn’t always applicable to the FY 24 budget,” Donald replied.

“This is my hearing, director, and I`m going to decide what’s applicable to this committee and what isn’t always,” White said. “How many human beings have been at the advert hoc committee?”

“I don`t recall,” Donald said.

White, who lately tussled with Donald over what he perspectives as systemic, and in as a minimum one case doubtlessly criminal, problems at DCHA, determined now no longer to push the problem further.

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